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Vanguard II (PSP Minis) Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The original Vanguard is a genuine masterpiece. When I reviewed this 1981 shooter in the last batch of SNK Minis, I was blown away by the innovative game mechanics. With the possible exception of later Samurai Shodown sequels, Vanguard II is SNK's most disappointing arcade sequel. You're better off sticking with the 1981 original. Rating: 40%
Vanguard II (PSP Minis)
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Vanguard II (PSP Minis) Vanguard II (PSP Minis) Vanguard II (PSP Minis)
  • Review Score:

  • C-
The original Vanguard is a genuine masterpiece. When I reviewed this 1981 shooter in the last batch of SNK Minis, I was blown away by the innovative game mechanics. While most games make you choose between overhead and side-scrolling perspectives, Vanguard let you have both. This early shoot-em-up actually switched between perspectives on the fly, something you don't see a lot of in the genre. And because nobody bothered to copy this innovative gimmick, that thirty year old arcade game still feels fresh. It's not up for debate, Vanguard is an amazing shooter.

Unfortunately, Vanguard II is not the awesome follow-up genre fans deserved. Instead of building on what made the first game so memorable (four-way firing, switching from side-scrolling to overhead on the fly, etc.), SNK decided to build an entirely different game from the ground up. This time around you fly around a large open overhead world looking for bad guys to shoot down and bosses to tangle with. While the idea of searching a large world is perfectly sound, there's nothing interesting about any of the stages in Vanguard II.

Beyond the boring stages, I found myself constantly fighting the game's tricky control scheme. The original game worked so well because of the elegant gameplay, but the same can't be said about this sequel. Here's a perfect example of a company fixing what wasn't broken. With the possible exception of later Samurai Shodown sequels, Vanguard II is SNK's most disappointing arcade sequel. You're better off sticking with the 1981 original.
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